November 22, 1979

?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I join with the hon. member for Westmorland-Kent (Mr. LeBlanc) in congratulating the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Crombie) on persuading his colleagues in the cabinet to agree to this proposal which was made by members of all parties in the House, and again by members of all parties in the committee. I had the notion in the committee, the day that we moved to adjourn the debate, that to say to the minister that we would not give him his bill made him somewhat uncomfortable, but then it appears he discovered that it was a useful weapon to be able to go back to the cabinet and say that the committee was unanimous in not being willing to proceed with the bill until this change had been made. So we are glad that the change was made, and that is the reason, of course, that we are prepared to deal with all six amendments in one debate, to pass them, and to pass the bill tonight.

However, despite the extreme brevity of both of those who have spoken before me, I am afraid I cannot follow suit because, for all my satisfaction that this improvement has been made, this piece of legislation, in the 1970s, is still a disgrace. It is a piece of pension legislation which applies a marital test to a pensioner between the ages of 60 and 65. We are accustomed to tests based on age, on work, on means or on needs, but to say to a person, particularly to a woman because that is how this act works in most cases, "You do not get this pension unless you have a man" is, I think, terribly wrong and inhumane.

November 22, 1979

Old Age Security

My friend, the hon. member for Westmorland-Kent, admitted, without stressing it too much, that the government of which he was a member had brought in the original bill that had in it that test, and my friend, the hon. member for Saint-Leonard-Anjou (Miss Begin) has also admitted that there was that flaw in the original act. What has happened since then is a matter of record.

Originally the spouse's allowance legislation provided that where a younger spouse between the ages of 60 and 65 was married to and living with an older spouse of 65 or over who was getting the pension, the younger spouse got the spouse's allowance, in effect got the pension at that younger age. But it only applied to married spouses, not to persons of single status. But the crowning indignity of all in the original act was that even that spouse in the 60 to 65 age bracket, if the older spouse died, had the allowance cut off immediately. Originally it was at the end of the month in which the death took place that the allowance was cut off, and there might not have been 30 days, it might have been only 30 minutes. That really hit hard. Those of us who have considerable correspondence on this subject became aware of it immediately, although 1 predicted that would happen, and we discovered that for a year or so it was happening to about 200 persons a month, most of them women.

I know this legislation works both ways, it can apply to the younger man and the older wife, but in most cases, and certainly in most cases where the allowance is obtained, it is the woman who is the younger person. So we had 200 widows a month in Canada losing their spouse's allowance because the older spouse had died.

Our stressing of the fact in the House during the last Parliament resulted in the former government amending that slightly and providing for that allowance in the case of the death of the older spouse to be continued for six months. That meant that if the younger spouse was 64 years and 6 months old, she-I say "she" deliberately-would carry the spouse's allowance until she reached the age of 65 and she qualified for old age pension. But if the younger spouse was 61 years old, she got the allowance for six months and then she had three and half years to wait. What this legislation does is to correct it and to provide that, whatever the age of the younger spouse, the allowance will be continued until the age of 65.

The amendment which the minister promised in committee he would bring in, and with which we are dealing now, provides that any of those who have already been cut off right back to the year 1975 when this legislation started, can have the spouse's allowance reinstated as of the effective date of this legislation, which is the month of November. That is a great improvement, and it is good, and that is why we are all prepared to support it.

However, the fundamental unfairness of the spouse's allowance legislation still stands. Even after this bill becomes law, we will have a country in which, if you are a woman between 60 and 65-I know it applies to men but there are so few of them that I need not talk about them-and you are in need, you get the spouse's allowance if you are married to an older

[Mr. Knowles.)

pensioner. You also get it if you are a widow, provided you became one after the age of 60. But if you became a widow before you turned 60, or if you are single, there is no payment under this legislation. So 1 say that although we complain about the means test and the needs test, we know how they work and there is some rationale to them. We have had out-of-work tests and other kinds of tests, such as tests connected with age and residence, but there is no room for this test and I earnestly plead with the minister that he spend as little time as possible boasting over what we in Parliament have done about this and that he consecrate his energies to getting this situation corrected as soon as he can.

I do not often read things that are lengthy into the record because it is dull to listen to a person reading something, but there is a letter about this which 1 regard as so important that I think it should be on the pages of Hansard in full. It is the letter which the chairman of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Mr. R. G. L. Fairweather, wrote to the Minister of National Health and Welfare on October 31, 1979, concerning the spouse's allowance legislation. As the minister knows, references were made to this letter in the standing committee, and Mr. Fairweather also made it clear that he was sending copies of it to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Trudeau) and to the Leader of the New Democratic Party (Mr. Broadbent). That is why I have a copy of it. It did not come in a plain brown envelope, it came in a white one directly from Mr. Fairweather. The letter is so important that I believe it should be on the record. It is dated October 31, 1979, and it reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Crombie:

The progress of Bill C-6, an act to amend the Old Age Security Act, through Parliament has prompted some members of the general public to express their concern to the Canadian Human Rights Commission that this act, in its original form as well as in its proposed amended form, bestows benefits on certain individuals, and not others, on the basis of their marital status. That is, no provision is made to augment the incomes of needy single persons between the ages of 60 and 65; married people, however, receive benefits.

You may recall that this commission has drawn attention in the past to legislation which is laudably aimed at sustaining families but which denies equivalent benefits to certain individuals or living groups purely on the basis of marital status. This is admittedly a difficult area of social policy. On the one hand, much of our legislation reflects society's traditional ranking of the family as a social unit requiring special consideration. On the other hand, the Canadian Human Rights Act, in explicitly proscribing differential treatment based on marital status or situation de famille, reflects society's more recent perception that marital status is not always the best criterion on which to base social policy.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is fully aware of the dilemma thus presented to the government. May we urge you to seek an early resolution to this dilemma through an extensive examination of the alternatives to marital status as a criterion in social programs. Copies of this letter are being sent to the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the New Democratic Party.

Yours sincerely,

R. G. L. Fairweather

I will not take the time to demonstrate how much that letter is in line with what some of us started saying in 1975. But it is good to have it from such an official body as the Canadian Human Rights Commission. I hope the minister, who I am sure is impressed with this letter, will use it in cabinet in much

November 22, 1979

the same way he used the stand which the committee took on the detail we are dealing with tonight. There is no defence at all of legislation which denies an allowance to certain people in an age bracket where we recognize there is need, just because those people cannot demonstate they have got a man. As I say, it works the other way. A man in that age bracket cannot get it if he does not have a woman over 65. But there are very few of them. As I say, this is most unfair. 1 have been getting letters, even since it has been announced that these amendments are going through, from single women in that bracket who say that this adds insult to injury. Parliament is increasing the number of women of single status who will get an allowance, single status by virtue of being widows.

The amendment of a year ago created a small group of women of single status-widows

who would be getting the allowance for six months. Now we have extended the time for them. We have added to that group, but although we have added to it, this bill still leaves out all of those who were widows before age 60 and all of those who were never married. I defy anybody in this chamber to stand up and defend that. The minister will say, "Well, we have got to move slowly". I know my Liberal friends said in committee their excuse for the legislation being in that form was that they regarded it just as an initial step toward a guaranteed annual income for all. My friend, the present minister, said that that is all the money he can get to fix this up for the time being. But when the distinguished chairman of the Canadian Human Rights Commission can write that kind of a letter, and say that this is not in keeping with accepted principles today, I say to the Minister of National Health and Welfare that he should work awfully hard on this issue.

If the minister speaks on third reading of this bill, one thing he can come back and tell me is that that will be part of his over-all review of pension matters. 1 welcome the fact that there is to be that review, a review of pensions in the 1980s. Well, the eighties will soon start, but they will be with us for ten years. My fear is that it will take a long time for over-all changes to be made. Since Mr. Fairweather has pointed out the unfairness at this point, we should not ask single women- those never married and those widowed before age 60-in the 60 to 65 age bracket to suffer this discrimination. As 1 have said, the letters I receive are from people who find themselves aghast. They did not know it existed. They do not usually learn about these things until they get to the age where they are affected. They can hardly believe that Parliament passed such a piece of legislation.

I call on the minister not to leave this to be part of a package three years, four years, or five years from now in a general review of pensions. But 1 call on the minister, just as he picked out this little detail, for needed action, to get this situation corrected. My own recommendation is well known. It ought to be, 1 have spelled it out many times.

The answer is to establish a pension available at age 60 to ail of those who are out of the labour market. In my view that would be the fairest and the most justified way to do it. If the government is prepared to go that far, and if it insists that in

Old Age Security

the 60 to 65 age bracket there should be a needs test of some sort, I will accept it, provided the marital test is not kept as well.

So, that is my contribution to this debate. I do not detract by one iota from the pleasure I expressed at the beginning in the victory that the committee won on this, with members from all sides making it unanimous. I am glad we are getting this through. I am glad the first bill this minister put through is a bill which moves in the right direction. Pleased though I may be, and willing though I may be to extend to the minister my congratulations, the main thing I hope he has heard me say tonight is that Gordon Fairweather is right; a marital test is wrong. I hope Gordon Fairweather will be joined, if Mr. Speaker will pardon me for using his name, by David Crombie in agreeing that it is wrong and correcting it just as soon as possible.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Harold Thomas Herbert

Liberal

Mr. Hal Herbert (Vaudreuil):

Mr. Speaker, I have a few comments, some of which I must admit are prompted by the remarks of the last speaker who is always looking for a little more, and quite correctly so. I should like to put on the record that although it might have been in committee that this very worth-while amendment was put through, the credit should go to the hon. member for Saint-Leonard-Anjou (Miss Begin) who had the guts to propose it and get it passed, even though it meant more than doubling the expense in the bill. I congratulate her for that. At least one can justify by some line of argument that the status of a single person-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Geoffrey Douglas Scott

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Scott, Victoria-Haliburton):

The

hon. member for Saint-Leonard-Anjou (Miss Begin) on a point of order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Monique Bégin

Liberal

Miss Begin:

Mr. Speaker, 1 rise on a point of order. I would not want to contradict my colleague who is speaking right now, the hon. member for Vaudreuil (Mr. Herbert), but I think he would agree with me that it is the opposition which pushed the government side into getting more money through the spouse's allowance. I think the government members were willing to do it, but they did not know how.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Harold Thomas Herbert

Liberal

Mr. Herbert:

Mr. Speaker, I will accept that explanation, but nevertheless it took initiative. That initiative was still taken by the hon. member for Saint-Leonard-Anjou, and I congratulate her for that.

What I was saying was that there is no change in status for the single person. Being single, that person has presumably had to contend with the need to provide for herself, or in a few cases himself, throughout his or her life. Until we are able to bring down old age pensions to a lower age for everyone, hopefully age 60, then there is at least some logic for not including these single persons. Despite the letter from the commissioner for Human Rights, I see the reason for going slow in this particular area.

What does bother me considerably is that at this stage the minister is not treating people who are in the same circum-

November 22, 1979

Old Age Security

stances alike. I give as an example three widows who are exactly the same age and who are in exactly the same financial circumstances, living side by side in identical apartments. Only one of those three widows gets the pension because she was between the ages of 60 and 65 when her husband, who was over 65, died. The other widow had not quite reached age 60, so she does not qualify, even though her husband died when he was 65 or more. And the third widow does not qualify because her husband died the day before he reached his sixty-fifth birthday. So we have three widows who are in identical financial circumstances and who are the same age, but only one of the three can qualify. That, to me, is an injustice.

If I were going to move, as we are moving in this bill, to the welfare area, which can be looked upon as a provincial jurisdiction, then we should at least make sure that individuals who are in identical circumstances are treated alike. I also have one word of warning. We know from past experience that not every provincial government looks upon these pensions, given by the federal government, in the same fashion. We know that in at least one case that pension will be taken into account when assessing the eligibility of that widow or widower for welfare payments. We must face the fact that until we get agreement with the provincial governments, any attempt made at the federal level to increase help for these persons will be nullified if every dollar given by the federal government is taken away by the provincial government.

The government has talked at length about co-operating with the provinces, about discussing all matters with the provinces and having their accord in advance. Since this bill is definitely an intrusion into a provincial area of responsibility- and I am not opposed to it on that ground; I think it is very good and I would like to see more such intrusions-and since certain provincial governments will look upon this bill as an intrusion and will not, therefore, be prepared to see these extra moneys remain untouched in the pockets of the recipients, I suggest that discussion should be held with all the provincial governments to ensure that what the federal government give, the provincial government doth not take away.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Richard Janelle (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Richard Janelle (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Regional Economic Expansion):

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Crombie) for his excellent initiative in introducing this bill which aims at correcting a serious injustice concerning senior citizens. People in my constituency regularly come to my office to complain about the restrictions in this legislation because under current provisions a person whose spouse has died loses his or her only income. These persons come to us and ask, "What shall I do now, what will become of me? 1 no longer have any income. In addition to having lost my husband, I am losing my spouse's allowance." Until now the only solution for those people was to apply for welfare. They had no other alternative.

I remember when the former minister of national health and welfare introduced the amendment to allow someone who lost his or her spouse to benefit from the spouse's allowance for six months only. At that time, I told myself that we had not yet found a solution to the problem. In 1975, when the legislation was passed, the amendments introduced today by the minister should have been included. For this, we had to have a government really determined to ensure more social justice for the Canadian population. This action gives evidence of the direction taken by the Progressive Conserative Party in Canada.

Moreover, these amendments include a provision which is quite normal, a review of the spouse's allowance following the death of the recipient. This means that the government will re-evaluate the needs of the surviving spouse, taking into account the loss of certain earnings, to allow him or her to have a sufficient income to live decently. Our senior citizens are those who are most in need in our society, and the highest percentage of people living below the poverty line can be found among people aged 65 or more. The cost of achieving this social justice is not prohibitive since it is about $4.3 million.

I wonder why, when the additional six months provision was passed a year ago, hon. members opposite, the former government, did not decide at that time to make the law more equitable and more effective. Since all parties seem to agree tonight to pass this bill as soon as possible, I shall be content with these few words. Once more, I congratulate the minister for this excellent initiative.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
?

Mr. C.-A. Gauthier@Roberval

Mr. Speaker, I had no intention of making a long speech, nor shall I make one, I can assure you, but I should like to say a few words on Bill C-6 which, to the hon. members of the Social Credit Party of Canada, is of prime importance. At the report stage, Bill C-6 allows the surviving spouse to receive the allowance until 65 or until he or she remarries.

First of all, I should like to congratulate most sincerely the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Crombie) for having dared, it can be said tonight, for having dared to take one step closer to greater social justice. At the insistence of all hon. members of the Social Credit Party of Canada, we had forced the then Liberal government to promise and even include in its election platform of 1974 eligibility for the pension at 60 for those who wanted it.

I swear if the Liberals had come out in a minority position, the day after they would have been forced to fulfil their 1974 election promise, but because they had a solid majority in 1974, that allowed them to water down somewhat their election promise without endangering the survival of their party. That is why we have the spouse's pension at 60 with all the disappointments that it brings, of course, to the spouse aged 60 to 65, particularly when the other spouse dies. Then it is a disaster for the surviving spouse. And how many cases we had

November 22, 1979

like that, Mr. Speaker, when the spouse had been getting his or her pension for one, two or even three years, and all of a sudden, after death, it came down to zero. That person had to go on social welfare, Mr. Speaker. That was the tragedy. Tonight, the Progressive Conservative government has done something which people are going to appreciate. Recently elected, and in a minority position to boot, the Progressive Conservative government had to make that eminently social gesture. This corrects an injustice that has been lasting for five years with the introduction of the latest amendments to give this bill even more equity.

I always say to those who want to hear me that the best government for all workers is a minority government. First, because it has to listen to the voice of the smaller parties elected by people who are in great need and eager for reform. Second, it has to serve first those who voted rather than favour those who paid for the election. The legislation necessarily becomes more social and less financial.

Mr. Speaker, there is an old saying which goes like this: "Tell me who pays you and I will tell you whom you serve". That saying is so true for the small parties which rely only on the devotion and the will of volunteer workers to be elected, whereas the major parties rely only on the millions in their election fund to come and represent those who paid them well. Canadians have already witnessed the good work we have been doing in the Elouse since the beginning of this session and I promise not to disappoint them. Read the papers and watch television-they even went as far as saying that five Social Credit members from Quebec have done more than the army of Quebec Liberal members. I urge the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Clark) and his government to continue to introduce legislation like the bill before us tonight and he can be sure our party will form a solid block to support his wonderful work.

I want to repeat, Mr. Speaker, that we of the Social Credit party are here not to play politics but to pass the best legislation for all Canadians. If you read over the speech made on second reading by my colleague, the hon. member for Rimouski (Mr. Allard), you will quickly realize that for us the welfare of our fellow citizens comes way ahead of financial interests. Such was also the case with my other colleague from Abitibi (Mr. Caouette) who was as proud as we are to speak on this bill. It is our earnest hope, to the greatest benefit of every citizen in our constituencies, that the Minister of National Health and Welfare will follow his course, and he can rest assured that we support him, because since 1962 we have been here in this House to support positive policies rather than play politics.

When a government does wrong, we never hesitated at telling them and telling the people. But when it takes actions for the greatest benefit of the people as a whole, we are happy to commend it, and we invite it to go on. We Social Crediters have but one motto: To serve the people before finance.

Old Age Security

Moreover, we have always maintained and told the people that a minority government better served the interests of citizens, while a majority government was, by force of circumstances, at the service of finance first and foremost. As a matter of fact, the most significant reforms enacted over the 17 years I have been here were passed under minority governments. It seems this is once more the case with the legislation before the House, legislation that the Social Credit Party of Canada will find it is its duty to support.

in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would call the minister's attention to a matter concerning the aged, for which we have as much concern as the matters in this bill. It is the condition of married couples. In this day and age, because a couple is legally married-and I call this an injustice of our social legislation-they are condemned to lose $22.75 a month, as compared to another two people living in the same house, at the same table, whether in concubinage or otherwise. To me this is anti-social legislation, and I therefore urge the government to keep this in mind, to consider paying pensions to Canadians as citizens rather than according to their marital status. Living is just as expensive for a couple. When I brought this before the House, I got the answer that this is because life is less expensive for married couples. Life is just as expensive for a couple as it is for two brothers or two sisters living in the same house, Mr. Speaker. Yet they get $25 more a month because they are brothers or sisters or whatever. Mr. Speaker, that will be our second priority. I want to draw the attention of the House to that case so that the minister can as soon as possible introduce another amendment to correct this injustice, because that can go pretty far. We are told that it costs more, and yet if the same couple decide to go and live in a retirement home, they will get as much as a single person because then they both live in a home. Can you see how ridiculous it is, Mr. Speaker? Because they no longer live by themselves but in a retirement home, they will get the whole amount. People are paid as Canadian citizens. I solicit a favour from the minister tonight. I ask him to bring forward an amendment as soon as possible to do justice to all pensioners. I do not want to take any more time, because I know there are others who want to speak, but once again I thank the Chair for having recognized me. The minister can be assured that we are watching him and will be quick to congratulate him, or censure him if ever he goes astray.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Stan Darling

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stan Darling (Parry Sound-Muskoka):

Mr. Speaker, I would certainly like to add a few words to the debate on Bill C-6. This is a bill in which I have a great deal of interest. I want to commend the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Crombie) for piloting it through the House and also for being able to sell the cabinet on the idea of making it retroactive to include those widows between the ages of 60 and 65.

November 22, 1979

Old Age Security

I have heard comments from members on the other side of the House who said they had a great deal of input in this. 1 am not discounting that a bit, but I would like to point out, and I am well aware, that both in caucus and in speaking with the minister, that members on this side of the House had a considerable amount of input also.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Stan Darling

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Darling:

I am delighted to see that the bill is going through. 1 say to my colleagues on all sides of the House that 1 thought it was a bad bill when it was brought in, and members should have known very well that it should have been retroactive and not discriminatory as it was. I think the minister of health is aware of that. I remember speaking very strongly in support of the original bill when a former minister, the hon. member for Outremont (Mr. Lalonde), brought the bill in on a 30-day deal. We pleaded with them and pointed out that it would mean a lot of people would have to go on welfare after the 30 days, and that was it. Later on when it did come through-and 1 thank the previous minister the hon. member for Saint-Leonard-Anjou (Miss Begin) for her efforts on that, but again I must say we pleaded with her time and again during the period when it was 30 days that it should be increased to include those up to 65. We did not get very far until about a year ago when the former minister, in her wisdom, decided to pay the spouse's allowance for a six-month period rather than a one-month period. Now she and some of her colleagues have been castigating the Minister of National Health and Welfare for being so stingy and niggardly on the way it came through originally.

It is a great idea and I appreciate it. But after being in this House seven years I know that your view depends on the side of the House on which you are sitting. I want to commend the minister. Also 1 commend the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) on his comments regarding those unfortunate women between the ages of 60 and 65 who are in a tight bind with respect to money, as my colleagues all know. However, I am hoping that something can be done.

Hon. members can rest assured with respect to those women between 60 and 65 who are single, that some time down the pike, and not too far, the government can find money for them. This will certainly get the support of members on this side of the House, but we are just trying to conserve as far as we can the assets and the money that we have. I admit that it is not as far as many of us want to go. I hope the bill will receive third reading and royal assent this month. It will be a welcome Christmas present for a great number of widows who are not eligible at present. It will also be a great sense of relief for those who may have husbands who are very ill and who may be in the 60 to 65 age bracket.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

William Arnold Peters

New Democratic Party

Mr. Arnold Peters (Timiskaming):

Mr. Speaker, I only want to take a moment or two, but I could not help thinking that the now Minister of Health and Welfare (Mr. Crombie)

is the new minister, and the old one is sitting in the opposition benches-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

The former one, not the old one.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

William Arnold Peters

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peters:

The former minister of health and welfare is sitting on the opposition benches.

I suppose the former minister of health must feel some regret tonight in that her bill did not go that far. This has been a very funny piece of legislation. When we first passed legislation, if the widow was between 60 and 65 she did not get any money. Then we put in an amendment. Then the widow got it for 30 days.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Monique Bégin

Liberal

Miss Begin:

That is not true. It was six months.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Not originally.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

William Arnold Peters

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peters:

It worked out to the end of the month. It was not necessarily 30 days. It could be one day or 29 days.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Monique Bégin

Liberal

Miss Begin:

Mr. Speaker, on a point of clarification for the hon. member, since I have some seniority now, at least as a former minister of health, I obtained for widows in Canada six more months in order to give them time to settle estates and so on.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

After pressure.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Monique Bégin

Liberal

Miss Begin:

I also obtained $300 million more for those who are 65 and over.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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November 22, 1979